DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Blowing, drifting snow caused dangerous roadways across the Miami Valley and Ohio Friday.
Officials are encouraging everyone to stay home if they do not need to travel until the winter weather subsides and roads are cleared.
“The roadways are continuing to deteriorate, we’re seeing a lot of crashes,” Sgt. Tyler Ross with the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) Public Affairs Unit said.
In the Miami Valley, drivers faced traffic slow downs, highway shutdowns caused by crashes along I-70 and I-75, and multiple jackknifing semis.
A 50 car pileup on the Ohio Turnpike turned deadly at the Sandusky-Erie County line. Officials said at least four people died in the crash.
Ross said between 8 a.m. And 8 p.m. Friday, OSHP responded to 650 crashes, 66 injury crashes, and at least 3 fatalities, and more than 2,448 calls for assistance across Ohio.
Meanwhile over 1,000 Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) plows are on the roads across the state.
“These winds are just really a challenge for us,” ODOT Press Secretary Matt Bruning said.
Road crews are out fighting the elements to make the roads passable, not perfect, until wintery conditions clear up.
“ODOT will stay on the roads around the clock 24/7 until the job is done,” Bruning said. “You know, if that takes us all the way through Christmas and into Monday, well, that’s just what we’ll do.”
On the day before Christmas Eve, ODOT and OSHP are urging people to delay their holiday travel plans and stay home.
If you have to head out, slow down, give other drivers space, and go prepared.
“Packing blankets, you know, snacks, water, stuff of that nature, so if you are stuck in a road closure, inclement weather, you can stay warm,” Ross said.
AAA Miami Valley reports as of 7 p.m. Friday they’ve received 816 calls for assistance since midnight. The most common reasons for the calls are for tows, extrication or battery issues.